[Statement] Groups criticize the decision of the Philippine government not to participate in international climate talks

File photo by March for Climate justice

June 6, 2019

We strongly criticize the arrogant, self-righteous, myopic and misplaced decision of the Philippine government not to participate in international climate talks.

We have been diligently following and engaging in the climate negotiations for the last 12 years, as civil society organizations and peoples movements from developing countries. We are keenly aware and have been hugely disappointed at the outcomes and how governments have behaved and the positions they have taken. But we have not come close to deciding to stop coming to these very critical international processes.

To hear the Duterte government completely abandon its responsibility to fight for the interests and well-being of the people of the Philippines in the international arena in the face of a global crisis requiring urgent global solutions, is deeply disturbing.

First, it does so with the arrogant self-righteous assumption that it is already doing fine with its climate change policies and therefore it’s the failure of other countries and the process itself. President Duterte has no moral authority to call the talks “more hot air” as his government is also extremely short on policy and action against climate change.

Second, his position that it may not matter in the long run due to other global issues including threats of war reveals a very shallow and myopic understanding of the climate crisis. It is irresponsible and callously ignoring the impacts our people are already experiencing, the already certain worsening of the situation, and the irreversibility of much of the changes global warming is generating.

Third, consistent with this myopia, the Philippine government fails to understand that its duty to fight for the rights and welfare of its people is not only about its own climate policy, it is about exacting actions from rich, industrialized countries who bear a huge responsibility for the climate crisis. The climate talks is an important arena to stand up to the governments of these countries and demand that they fulfill their obligations under the climate convention – to cut their greenhouse gas emissions swiftly and deeply, and provide adequate, additional and public climate finance for developing countries.

Fourth, while we are all in support of stopping wasteful government spending, this is very misplaced. We know for a fact there has not been much financial support for the Philippine delegation to the climate talks in the past many years, and even less so in recent years. More importantly, what are a few air tickets compared to the hundreds of millions we lose to corrupt government officials who this administration is failing or refusing to run after. The hypocrisy is even more blatant in the face of Duterte’s alliance with the Marcoses who robbed the country of tens of billions of pesos.

We urge officials in the Duterte administration who have an infinitely better understanding of the climate crisis and genuine compassion for our people, to stop this dangerous decision.

Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development
Philippine Movement for Climate Justice
Alyansa Tigil Mina
Oriang Women’s Movement

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